What Messages are the Top 10 AIA Firms of the Year Sending on Their Web Sites?

December 15, 2002 · by DesignIntelligence

We went to the last decade’s AIA Firm of the Year Award winners’ sites front doors, looking for mission, value and culture statements, or where a first-time visitor would go to see what the firm says about itself.

Web Sites are in some ways the opposite of structure—they’re ephemeral, one-dimensional and often, not built to last. Some firm’s representations are terse; some are voluminous. Still, it’s interesting to see what words crop up often. Does repetition reflect what’s important to the firm?

Web design is still young. Some have mastered it sooner and better than others. We went to the last decade’s AIA Firm of the Year Award winners’ sites front doors, looking for mission, value and culture statements, or where a first-time visitor would go to see what the firm says about itself. Below are key words and how many times they occur on those primary pages. Also included is one sentence that seemed distinctive or representative. Now, take a new look at your own site.

Miller/Hull/2003
Public: 7
Washington: 5
Commitment:2
Different: Peace Corps

"With their experience in the Peace Corps, both David Miller and Robert Hull believe in socially responsible and humane public architecture. Since 70% of our projects involve public funding, we have learned that certain responsibilities come with public work."

Thompson, Ventulett & Stainback/2002
GOOD:5
HUMAN SPIRIT:2
SERVE:3
DIFFERENT:Employee-owned

“Our solutions have evolved in order to exceed the expectations of our clients.”

Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck/2001
IDEA:9
COLLABORATE(IVE):1
TENET:1
DIFFERENT:armature

“The concept of elegance, defined as both “grace and refinement in appearance” and “exactness and precision”, encapsulates the difficult balance between art and science that has long been at the root of architecture.”

Gensler/2000
CLIENT(S):7
DIFFERENT:1
TECHNOLOGY:1
DIFFERENT:Entrepreneurial

“We create great places that enhance the quality of work and life. The return of these enhancements is substantial, whether the measure is customers won and kept, employees empowered, people entertained, passengers brought quickly to the gate.”

Perkins & Will/1999
FULL-SERVICE:1
REPUTATION:1
HERITAGE:2
DIFFERENT:Solutions

“We believe that architecture is a social art that is the synthesis of site specifics, climate, and program. Rather than deriving our solutions from preconceived or abstract theories, we offer a process that strives for an architecture that uniquely responds to the particular needs of each client.”

Centerbrook Architects and Planners LLC/1998
CLIENT(S):3
DISTINCT:1
DIFFERENT:Pragmatic

“Budget restrictions and pragmatic constraints are welcome guides, since they lead to buildings that are elegantly practical.

R.M. Kliment & Frances Halsband Architects/1997
WORK:1
PARTNER(SHIP):2
DIFFERENT:Newstand

“Our projects have ranged in size from an 80sf prototype newsstand to a 2,500,000 sf college master plan.”

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill/1996
EXCELLENCE:2
SOPHISTICATION:1
STANDARDS:1
GLOBAL:1

“Since its founding, SOM has completed more than 10,000 architecture, engineering, interior architecture, and planning projects in more than 50 countries around the world.”

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson/1994
BELIEF:3
ENVIRONMENT:2
POWER:1
Different:Dogma

“This is a time in which belief is often overwhelmed by exponential change.”

Beyer Blinder Belle/1995
VISION:1
MISSION:1
CREATIVE:1
DIFFERENT: Historic
“Convinced that urban environments are enriched by diversity and the dynamic interaction of past and present, Beyer Blinder Belle unites the old with the new – classic historic preservation meshed with the creative contemporary design of new construction.”

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